Best Of London 2023: It's The Annual Londonist Awards!

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

Best Of London 2023: It's The Annual Londonist Awards!

As we cast our memory back over the past 12 months, we dish out awards for the best, the worst and the WTF-iest of London in 2023. It's far too dull having things like "Best New Restaurant" — but we are awarding (virtual) trophies for the likes of "Most-Closed Tube Station" and "Best Dick Van Dyke Impression".

And the award for "Thing That Everyone Seems To Be Doing Right Now" goes to...

A sculpture of Morph with 'power to the people' written on its chest
Image: Matt Brown/Londonist

SCULPTURE TRAILS! 2023 was a big year for running around town, ticking decorated sculptures off your list: there were giraffes looming large in Croydon, zen-looking gorillas in Covent Garden and mischievous Morphs frolicking all over town. As we type, you can hunt down a trail of Snowmen — and in the name of not ruining any more childhoods, these one don't melt.

And the award for "Best Renamed Road" goes to...

A Kyiv Road W2 sign
Image: Westminster City Council/John Orton

KYIV ROAD! In late November, life-long Watford fan Elton John renamed one of the roads outside the football team's stadium Yellow Brick Road. Smashing stuff, but as Watford is technically outside London, we're going to go with the rebranding of a small section of Bayswater Road to Kyiv Road, in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The address, as it just so happens, is around the corner from the Russian Embassy.

And the award for "Well It's Not Quite As Exciting As The Elizabeth Line But I Guess It'll Do" goes to...

A Superloop bus, red on the bottom half - white and with Superloop branding on the top
Image: TfL

SUPERLOOP! Although no transport news in 2023 was going to beat 2022's Elizabeth line launch, the gradual launch of the Superloop — an express bus route that forms an almost-complete ring around much of the capital — certainly got our readers bussing, sorry buzzing. Did Sadiq's marketing team crib the Superloop name from Santa Claus: The Movie? Who's to say.

And the award for "Most Ambitious Artist" goes to...

The artist posing in front of the Eye on the Thames
Jack Hines is drawing every single building in London.

JACK HINES! Early on this year, we reported on Lydia Wood and her admirable plight to draw every single pub in London. Come June, we were talking to a fella who'd upped the ante somewhat; Jack Hines has vowed to draw every single BUILDING in the capital. When we spoke to him, he'd covered around 0.037128% of London. So by our calculations, he'll be... just about finished by now?

And the award for "Thank F**k That Didn't Happen" goes to...

A model of the Earth over Stratford
How the Sphere would have looked in Stratford. Image MSG Entertainment

THE STRATFORD SPHERE! It's not so much that we outright decried the massive globule of LED screens, it's more the fact the developers Madison Square Garden Entertainment Company (MSG) were hellbent on plonking it in the middle of heavily-populated Stratford. Anyway, Sadiq said no, prompting MSG to throw a strop and say they'd building it in a more 'forward-thinking' city. I mean, sure.

And the award for "Most Famous Pub" goes to...

A yellow lantern with 'Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese' printed on it
Image: Shutterstock

YE OLDE CHESHIRE CHEESE! That's right, back in April we asked you to name London's best-known pub, and you (not entirely unsurprisingly) decided that pub was that beautiful old boozer beloved by life-long Londoners and neophytes alike. Although how many of you knew that a baby elephant once called in there?

And the award for "Oh, It's You Again" goes to...

An old fashioned HMV on Oxford Street
HMV record store, Oxford Street, 1936 by Sydney Newbery © RIBA Collections

HMV! 2023 was a real comeback year, with everywhere from the organ-filled Hunterian to the louche drinking Colony Room enjoying reintroductions to the London scene. For sheer tenacity though, this award has to be bestowed on the flagship HMV store, which returned to Oxford Street for not the second, but the THIRD time in its history. That's got to be a record in itself...

And the award for "Crappiest Bench" goes to...

A person consumed by a bush, sitting on a bench

THIS ONE! Talking of returning for a third time, in 2023 we ran yet another of our 'Crappiest Benches' articles, and your suggestions came flooding in for the absolute worst places to take the weight off your feet in London, thanks to blocked views, discarded condoms, and — as in the case of our winner, above — a tendency to get you a little too close to nature.

And the award for "Best Dick Van Dyke Impression" goes to...

Dick Van Dyke grinning and looking out into a crowd
Image: Gage Skidmore via creative commons

"Hello guv'nor! Fancy a spot of tea?" so begins Bing's AI impression of Dick Van Dyke as Bert in Mary Poppins (we asked it to, it didn't just do it unannounced). The full transcript is something to behold, and dare we say, more genuinely cockney than dear old Dick ever could be.

And the award for "Bizarrest Sculpture" goes to...

A realistic sculpture of a sleeping man in his pants
Courtesy of the artist and Maruani Mercier

SLEEPWALKER! Tony Matelli's uber-realistic sculpture of a balding bloke in his undies staggering zombie-like through Regent's Park was probably enough to put dozens of kids — and a good few adults — off art for good. Let's NOT have a sculpture trail of these in 2024, thank you.

And the award for "Most Closed Tube Station" goes to...

A man waits on a tube platform with a suitcase
You're gonna be there a while mate. Image: jpellgen (@1105_jp) via creative commons

KENTISH TOWN! On 26 June, Kentish Town closed its shutters, and not a single train has stopped here since. In fact, thanks to the works being undertaking, the station might not open until next summer. So what mammoth works are they undertaking? Widening the platforms? Digging a new tunnel? Er, replacing the escalators actually.

And the award for "I'm Not Really Sure We Needed That Afternoon Tea" goes to...

Various green-coloured pickled delights as part of an afternoon tea spread
Image: The Delight Project

THE PICKLE AFTERNOON TEA! Need we say any more?

And the award for "Game Most Likely To Lose You Your Job" goes to...

London Metro Memory: A map of tube stations, unnamed with a type box in the middle
Image: Metro Memory

METRO MEMORY! It broke the internet. It lost you your job. And it made you wonder if Minden Parkway West was a real station, or the start of a nervous breakdown. For the best part of a week in October, the lethally addictive Metro Memory game was what every Londoner worth their salt was playing/swearing at. It frankly made The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom look sh*t.

Original feature image: iStock/adventtr

Last Updated 28 December 2023

Continued below.